Real Madrid: Toni Kroos now has to be considered the Player of the Season to this point

Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid are third in La Liga, but they still have as good of a chance as anyone of winning the trophy for a second straight season despite not having an ideal squad at their disposal. Credit has to go to the manager, Zinedine Zidane, for navigating the team ably through choppy waters, but we know that most of the credit must go to the players themselves. And specifically, the old guard of players who won Champions League after Champions League.

But who has been Real’s best player so far this season? Not necessarily the most valuable, but the most outstanding overall. The guy who stands head and shoulders above the rest on a weekly basis and delivers elite performances with only rare “average” matches.

Clearly, the honor must go to Toni Kroos. Casemiro and Luka Modric give him plenty of competition from midfield. Modric was the best player of the season before 2021 began, and Case has been resurgent in recent months, even standing out as the team’s second-best goal-scorer.

Yet Kroos is No. 1. He is producing at a level that must be seen to be believed. Unfortunately, many fans do not pay attention to matches outside of the Champions League and Premier League top six, so they rely on basic stats like goals and assists to debate the best midfielder. Hence why Bruno Fernandes and Kevin de Bruyne dominate headlines. They are wonderful players, no doubt. But if you truly appreciate passing clinics and composed, elegant midfield play, then you must appreciate what Kroos has done in Madrid this season.

Toni Kroos isn’t just Real Madrid’s best, he is La Liga’s best

According to, Kroos still leads La Liga in key passes per game after being the leader in this category of all the players in the Champions League group stages. To add to this, Kroos is second with 77 passes per game, second with a pass completion percentage of 93.3, and first among outfield players with nine long balls per game.

He is passing at a level that isn’t just the best in La Liga, but it is historically great. Kroos is near-perfect with his passing, dominating the ball frequently in matches, and producing clear-cut chances for his teammates. That he “only” has six assists is an indictment of Real Madrid’s incompetent attack, with Marco Asensio’s wastefulness being the biggest culprit here.

Kroos carries Real Madrid when playing out of the back and ensures the team has control of the pitch at a time when their squad is too injury-prone and impotent to do much else on the attacking end. He must direct play, recycle the ball, avoid changes in possession, and press like mad whenever Los Blancos do lose the ball. Despite being an attacking-minded midfielder, the man has more tackles per game than the likes of Saul and Geoffrey Kondogbia of Atletico Madrid.

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And he accomplishes all of these duties with aplomb. Kroos is perennially underrated because he does not dominate the basic “box score” statistics like Fernandes and de Bruyne do this season. But Kroos is as good as any of those midfielders, if not better. He has been Real’s top player in the 2020-2021 campaign as we head into the thick of March, and I can’t wait to see him get more recognition in the future when a true Galactico pairs up with Karim Benzema up top.